Country superstar/"Voice" coach Blake Shelton is all about getting personal on "Based On A True Story…," his seventh studio album to date. "Every song on the album, I've either been through those situations, or I'm going through them right now," Shelton admitted. Among the most relevant in Shelton's life at the moment are cuts like "Doin' What She Likes" and "Ten Times Crazier." If fans felt like they got to know the real Blake on the hit NBC show, they'll get another close look with this batch of songs.
The new album is also gearing up for a strong showing on the charts. Lead single "Sure Be Cool If You Did" currently sits at No. 24 on the Hot 100, its highest position in its 10 weeks on the chart. But there are plenty of other potential hits on "True Story" -- join Billboard as we take a track-by-track look.
1. Boys ‘Round Here - The album kicks off with a bit of a hip-hop feel with this one. Featuring some nice harmony from the Pistol Annies, it’s a cool ode to Shelton’s ‘homies’ back home in Oklahoma – though the lyrics could be adapted to anywhere one can find their “inner redneck.”
2. Sure Be Cool If You Did
The quickest of Shelton’s releases to hit the top of the charts, it’s not exactly the most well-written song of his career, but his vocal is very pleasing on the cut – as well as the arrangement.
3. Do You Remember - Going back to the beginning of his career with “Austin,” Shelton has always had his way with a ballad, and he scores on this touching song about looking back when a love was stronger.
4. Small Town Big Time - The guitars are loud and crankin,’ and so is the attitude. This cut could very well be the hit of the summer on country radio -- it’s just got that "roll down the window" feel. It almost makes you wonder if Shelton’s not missing Oklahoma just a little while he’s doing ‘The Voice.”
5. Country On The Radio – A heartfelt lyric paying tribute to the format –i and many of the subjects that come up in those lyrics. It’s not earth-shaking, but I can already imagine the cigarette lighters and cell phones moving to the beat of this one on the upcoming “Ten Times Crazier” tour.
6. My Eyes – The melody knocks this one out of the ballpark. It’s cute, seductive, sly, and romantic all at once. And, former “Voice” star Gwen Sebastian’s harmonies add a layer of dreaminess to this, as well.
7. Doin’ What She Likes – Producer Scott Hendricks did a nice job on the arrangement of this one -- one of Shelton’s most musically adventurous yet. It manages to touch a few different genres all at one time.
8. I Still Got A Finger – This is Shelton at his irreverent finest. Lyrically, there might have to be a little bit of editing on this one, but if Warner Brothers doesn’t find a way to get this one on the air, they are missing the boat. Times change, and so does music, but the ode to the arrogant boss...is timeless!
9. Mine Would Be You – Another strong romantic performance from Shelton. Though he has made a killing as the slightly off-beat bad ass, songs like “God Gave Me You” and this one have shown that he has a definite soft side.
10. Lay Low – This is maybe the most entertaining cut on the album, one that brings to mind the sound of 80s country, a la Conway Twitty -- who is probably smiling down from Hillbilly Heaven with pride on this one. The fiddle and steel work, from Aubrey Haynie and Paul Franklin, respectively, are first-rate.
11. Ten Times Crazier – The song that will serve as the title of his summer and fall tour, this one has a definite flow to it that Shelton seems to handle well. The harmonies are particularly effective on this one. An indisputable hit.
12. Granddaddy’s Gun – For all the changes in his career, it still comes down to the song. This Rhett Akins/Dallas Davidson composition allows Shelton to slide into the storytelling vein that he so often excels at, and the result might be his most moving cut since “The Baby.”